Upset Bid Falls Short
Nov. 28, 2004
LAS VEGAS - After spotting fifth-ranked North Carolina an 18-point first half lead, UNLV stormed back to cut the lead to two in the second, and was within four in the final minute before the Tar Heels hit four-of-four at the line to hold on for an 84-76 win in the championship game of the Lady Rebel Shootout on Sunday afternoon from the Cox Pavilion. UNC moves to a perfect 5-0 with the win, while UNLV fell to 2-3. In the first game of the day, No. 24 Villanova held off Texas-Arlington 59-53.
The Tar Heels blitzed out to a 31-13 lead less then 10 minutes into the game, sparked by 10 points from tournament MVP Ivory Latta. UNLV's Sheena Moore answered back for the Lady Rebels, scoring nine points during a 15-4 run to bring them back into the game, with Sequoia Holmes' layup at 6:19 cutting the score to 33-25. A Moore layup made the score 37-34 with 3:47 to go in the first half, but UNC ran off 10 of the next 12 points, and took a 49-40 edge into the break.
UNC pushed the lead back to 13 twice in the second half, the last on a layup from Erlana Larkins with 17:01 on the clock for a 57-44 edge. A RanDee Henry trey started a 12-2 run for the Lady Rebels, with Moore capping the spurt with a three-point at 14:46 to close UNLV within three, 59-56. The game was tight the rest of the way, as UNLV closed to within two four times in the final 13 minutes, but could not sink the tying basket. After a pair of Holmes free throws at 6:07 made it 73-71, UNC ran off seven unanswered for an 80-71 edge. Five straight point from Henry brought UNLV back within four, 80-76, with 3:29 on the clock. The Tar Heel defense then stepped up and forced the Lady Rebels to miss their last eight shots from the field. North Carolina did not make a field goal in the last five minutes, but was four-of-four at the line in the final 30 seconds to take the win.
Moore led UNLV with 25 points, while Henry just missed a double-double with 19 points and nine rebounds. Holmes added nine points, Shana Coleman scored eight and Nikki Hitchens seven. The Lady Rebels were held to 38% (27-71) from the floor, but won the rebounding battle 38-33, and forced UNC into 25 turnovers, while committing 20 of their own.
Latta paced the Tar Heels with a game-high 28 points and seven assists. Larkins came off the bench to score 22 on 9-of-10 shooting, while La'Tangela Atkinson finished with a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. UNC shot 55.8% (29-52) for the game, 54.5% (6-11) from outside, and 87.0% (20-23) at the line.
Named to the all-tournament team was Henry and Moore of UNLV, Leah Metcalf and Larkins of North Carolina, and Jackie Adamshick of Villanova, while Latta was the tournament MVP.
In the first game, Villanova took a 33-24 halftime lead, and shot 50% for the game to hold off Texas-Arlington. Adamshick led the Wildcats with 25 points, while Rola Ogunoye paced UTA with 15 points and eight rebounds.